Today we first have to answer the question of, What is family? There are the blood relatives yes, but then I have always felt that our family is the greater body of people that we have around us. Those whom we interact with on a consistent basis and have an impact upon your life. Maybe this isn't true for you, but it seems to be to me, that my relationships with the none blood relatives in my "family" are healthier than the ones I have with my blood relations. My husband's family functions under the auspices of another culture, and that has created very unique interactions during this grief process and is a topic for discussion another time.
Back to family, and do they mean well? Why is it that when a tragedy strikes someone people swarm and care for 20 minutes and then back away at the end of the conversation and never mention it again. It is as if, if they do not say anything then they can make it go away. Is it their desire to not cause distress or to not be distressed themselves? And the role of family in this situation. Is it my job to reach out and say "I am sad today" or "I am angry today", or do I wait for them to call and check in? Or, does all of their lack of contact mean they just do not care. Even when we have been together as a family, no one asks, no one. Am I just supposed to announce to the room how we are doing? I always thought that when people loved each other they demonstrated caring when clearly the other person is going through a hard time. Or, maybe they think we are over it already.
I guess my point would be - we are relational beings and we need each other. When people we love the most, do not seem to care when we are hurting the most or at our lowest point that makes it WORSE not better. So if you know someone who is hurting or low pick up the phone, drop an e-mail or go over. Do not be afraid you will say the wrong thing - open yourself up to feeling with them. No one should have to walk alone. Not that you have to take on someone's pain, but giving them some of your hope is what matters. Show someone that you care because that very simple act will help someone see a ray of light in a very dark world - and it may be the light that saves them.